The news that the British government will go ahead with sizeable cuts to the military is a very positive development in an otherwise insane round of savage spending cuts across the board. The Huff Post reports:
Britain will lose thousands of troops, reduce its ability to fight complex missions like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and delay a program to upgrade its nuclear defenses, Prime Minister David Cameron announced Tuesday.
Outlining the first defense review since 1998 – intended both to sweep away strategies crafted before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S. and to help clear the country's crippling national debt – Cameron said 17,000 troops, a fleet of jets and an aging aircraft carrier would all be sacrificed.
All in all, the cuts will amount to about 8% over 4 years, not exactly a huge amount given the scope of the cuts elsewhere. But praise should be given where praise is due, and the government's consistency should be lauded.
The UK military budget is completely ridiculous given its size and role in the world, coming in third place behind the US and China - around 2.5% of GDP. The UK spends billions on unnecessary weapons programs, unnecessary training programs and above all, unnecessary wars. Cutting funds for working families and public sector workers could be avoided if the government made sufficient cuts to the military, but of course, there is always money for war, and never money for peace. The Conservative government is at least making inroads into the prevailing ideology that the UK is still a major super power, acknowledging that it simply cannot go on pretending it is something it isn't.